Direct marketing agencies send promotional messages directly to consumers instead of using a mass medium such as television. Although direct marketing includes telemarketing and direct mail, sometimes called junk mail, e-mail has been growing as a direct-marketing tool. Some professionals in the field focus on B-to-B (business-to-business) direct marketing. Direct response agencies create campaigns that ask consumers to respond directly to the advertisers by mail, telephone, e-mail or some other means of communication.
Well-known direct marketing agencies include Harte-Hanks Direct and DMW Worldwide. Harte-Hanks, known as a comprehensive direct marketing firm, owns and operates publications The PennySaver and The Flyer. DMW Worldwide provides services including strategic planning, database management, broadcast, media, production and internet marketing.
Departments and types of jobs at direct response agencies are similar to those at ad agencies. Types of positions include account executive, copy writer, account supervisor, media buyer and researcher. In addition, some employees have jobs that are unique to direct marketing. For example, people might create mailing lists for direct marketers or work with catalog companies.
About 255 colleges and universities in the United States have courses in direct/interactive marketing, and 31 of these schools offer direct marketing degrees and certificate programs. The Direct Marketing Educational Foundation has information for students who are interested in working in the field, including a searchable database of schools that have direct marketing programs[i].